Meet Oscar

Last Sunday, I introduced a new friend to my congregation. Being from Western Pennsylvania, home of Punxatawney and Groundhog Day, it was only natural that I meet the world’s first Unitarian Universalist groundhog. Please meet Oscar, who you can see here reading his favorite web site. Like me, Oscar is a fan of pizza (veggies only, please). Last Sunday, Oscar helped me tell a story for a Time for All Ages segment, which he would like to also share with our cyber friends.

This is a story about a bunny named Michael. Michael was not quite a grown up rabbit yet. But, the adult rabbits saw that Michael was very smart for a bunny, very creative for such a youngster, and unafraid to share his notions with other rabbits.

Michael lived in a community of rabbits (which is called a warren) on the border between a lovely green meadow and a majestic forest of oaks, elms, and maples. Michael liked his warren, but always sensed that their lives could be better – that perhaps there was more to life than frolicking in the meadow, or munching on wild nuts and berries.

One day, Michael strayed far into the forest and into a large rock outcropping on a hillside overlooking the whole forest, where he met another rabbit. Her name was Margaret. But, this rabbit was not the same color of brown of other rabbits Michael knew. And, this rabbit seemed very thin and not as big and strong as the rabbits from Michael’s warren.

Margaret told Michael that she lived in a warren on the other side of the forest, a place where there were many foxes that hunted the rabbits and made it difficult for them to gather food for the upcoming winter. So, Michael returned home and talked to the elders about sharing their food with the rabbits of this other community. But, the elders replied that warrens never shared food before and that he needed to worry about winter and his own warren.

Months went by and the snows came. One day, Michael wandered through the forest near the rocks and ran into Margaret again. She looked very sick and said that her warren was almost completely out of food. So, Michael returned to the elders and asked once again about sharing food. But, the elders replied that now was a bad time to give away food, because winter could go on for another month or more.

The snows finally stopped, and Michael once again found Margaret in the woods. Her warren was in deep trouble because their food had run out and the spring rains had flooded their homes. So, Michael once again appealed to his elders, who agreed to quickly send some food to Margaret’s warren. But, the rescue party was disorganized and paid no attention to the clouds building on the horizon. Halfway through the forest, a huge storm descended and the rabbits had to abandon their food to avoid being swept away by the rains. Michael led them to cover in the rock outcropping until the storm passed.

When Michael and the other rabbits finally returned home, their warren was in a state of panic. Huge machines were moving mountains of earth and destroying the homes of Michael’s family and friends. At that moment, Michael had an idea. He quickly gathered all of the rabbits and told them to take what possessions they could and head back to the rock outcropping. In the meantime, he ran to Margaret’s warren, and told the elders there to gather their belongings and follow him to the rocks.

Over the next few weeks, the two warrens worked together to build a new home amidst the rocks, which sheltered them from rain and snow, and protected them from the foxes. Michael and Margaret eventually married and had many bunnies of their own and the new warren lived happily ever after.

The moral of this story is that a good idea alone is never enough. An idea will fail if people are unwilling to change, if the timing is wrong, or if there is no plan to implement the idea. An idea will only work if people want to change, the timing is right, and there is a vision to accomplish the idea. Perhaps this is a valuable lesson for us all as we begin new church years.